Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, February 22, 2016

Quiz Feb23

Machiavelli, Hobbes (LH); WATCH: Hobbes on freedom & security (HI) LISTEN: Quentin Skinner on Machiavelli's The Prince, Quentin Skinner on Hobbes on the State (PB); Hobbes & civil disobedience (HI)... Podcast...Tupac, Donald, and the Prince on means and ends

1. Machiavelli's key idea was that a politician ("prince") needs to have what quality?

2. Does Nigel think the adjective "machiavellian" correctly implies that the politicians it describes are simply evil or self-serving?

3. What did Machiavelli think a successful ruler needs to know about human nature?

4. Life in a state of nature would be _______, poor, nasty, brutish, and _____.

5. What was Hobbes' metaphorical image of the civilized state he thought people were driven by fear to prefer to a state of nature?

6. Hobbes was a _______, convinced that all aspects of existence including thinking are ______ activities.


BONUS: Name the English philosopher I frequently mention who supported and practiced civil disobedience.




DQ:

1. What qualities do you value in politicians? Do you always vote according to party allegiance, or for the "best" candidate regardless of party?

2. Do you think our current leaders (in all branches of government) are "machiavellian"? How so? Do you approve or disapprove of their quality of leadership?

3. Who do you think have been our best leaders? Why? Were they also the most successful politicians? If not, why not? Who are the best leaders in the world today, in your judgment? Why? Do they seem to share Machiavelli's opinion of human nature?

4. What would happen if the state and its authoritative institutions disappeared? Would life be good?

5. Is safety more important than freedom? How does this question play out in our current politics, regarding (for instance) gun rights and violence in America, or privacy versus national security?

6. If materialism (physicalism) is true, do people still have the ability to make responsible decisions and choices?

7. Have you ever engaged in an act of deliberate law-breaking, in order to challenge what you considered an unjust law? Are there circumstances in which you would do so? Would you risk arrest on behalf of social justice, climate change, or anything else?


8.Would life in a state of nature be as bad as Hobbes thought? In your experience, are most people naturally distrustful, hostile, aggressive, and vicious? Or are we "noble savages," made less so by civilization and its institutions?

9. Is the threat of insecurity and fear of violent death great enough for most people to override their desire for personal freedom? Is safety more important to you than liberty? Does it bother you that the government may be monitoring your calls, emails, etc.?

10. If you agree with Hobbes that humans left to themselves would revert to base, aggressive, instinctive behavior, do you also agree that the only corrective for this condition is an all-powerful and authoritative central state? Can individuals change, and become more kind and compassionate? Or is this beyond our programming?

11. Is it possible to know that human nature is inherently good or bad? Or must we treat one another as individuals, and not exemplars of a universal nature?
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An old post-

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Machiavelli & civil disobedience

But first a word about what really matters: health. Though I complain often enough of the sorts of aches and pains common to members of my (Eisenhower-era) demographic, I'm rarely bedridden with illness. So, when I'm driven to my sickbed for an entire night and day and night, as I was between Saturday and Monday, it's a bit of a shock and (in retrospect) a welcome reminder. "Keep your health," William James wrote to his English pragmatist friend Schiller, "it's better than all the truths in the firmament." All else is bonus. I'm running on fumes and yesterday afternoon's half-bowl of chicken noodle soup so far today, but I'm up and running. That really does matter, way more to me today than Machiavelli ever did. But I'll try to fake it.

Mistrust, suspicion, refusal to really listen to others: these are symptomatic features of the world as Machiavelli (and Hobbes, coming next) knew it, a world full of testimonial injustice. Not to mention intrigue, plot, war, and violence. The more things change...


Niccolo Machiavelli praised virtu’ in a leader: manliness and valor are euphemistic translations, ruthless efficiency might be more to the point. The intended implication of "manly" is not so much machismo as hu-manity, with a twist. Machiavelli's manly prince judiciously wields and conceals the guile of the fox and the brutality of the lion, all the while brandishing an image of kindhearted wisdom. A wise prince, he said, does whatever it takes to serve the public interest as he sees it. But does he see it aright? Hard to tell, if you can’t believe a word he says. But Skinner and others think he's gotten a bad name unfairly. (See videos below.)
A new detective mystery starring Nicco has recently been published, btw, and was featured on NPR. “What would happen if two of the biggest names of the Renaissance — Niccolo Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci — teamed up as a crime-fighting duo?” Beats me, may have to read The Malice of Fortune. One of our groups, I think, is doing a midterm report on Superheroes & Villains. Room for one more?

I'm a bit puzzled by the sentimental fondness some seem to feel for "machiavellian" politicians. Haven't we had enough of those? Wouldn't we rather be led by Ciceronians and Senecans and Roosevelts, evincing qualities of compassion and (relative) transparency? Don't we wish them to affirm and work for the goals of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Eleanor's great post-White House achievememt?

But, Bertie Russell agrees that Machiavelli has been ill-served by invidious judgments that assimilate him to our time's conventions and accordingly find him objectionable, instead of appreciating his fitness to live and serve in his own day. Russell praises his lack of "humbug." Give the devil his due.

“I never say what I believe and I never believe what I say,” declared Machiavelli. “If I sometimes say the truth, I conceal it among lies”... more»




'The Prince' and 'Why Machiavelli Still Matters ...
The political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli wrote “The Prince” as a manual on leadership and governing during the late Italian Renaissance, ...

In Tuscany, Following the Rise and Fall of Machiavelli
Five centuries after “The Prince” was written, visiting spots in and around Florence that track the arc of Machiavelli's life.

Arthur Herman makes the case for assigning Machiavelli to Team Aristotle... Inside the Mind of Machiavelli (Salon)

Looking for a firm modern presidential declaration of anti-Machiavellian sentiment? Jimmy Carter said: "A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained. It can afford to extend a helping hand to others. It is a weak nation, like a weak person, that must behave with bluster and boasting and rashness and other signs of insecurity."

We're talking civil disobedience too, today. Again Nigel slights the Yanks, in not mentioningThoreau. “If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.” And,
Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out its faults, and do better than it would have them?
So, here's my Discussion Question today: Have you ever engaged in an act of deliberate law-breaking, in order to challenge what you considered an unjust law? Are there circumstances in which you would do so? Would you risk arrest on behalf of social justice, climate change, or anything else? Will you at least support those who do? Are you a compliantist, a gradualist, or a transgressive reformer?

Russell, incidentally, himself a civil disobedient in the great tradition of Socrates, Gandhi, King, et al - ("On April 15 1961, at the age of 89, Bertrand Russell gave a speech calling for non-violent civil disobedience in his campaign for British unilateralism, i.e. to get Britain to unilaterally give up its nuclear weapons and membership in NATO") - gives Thoreau only passing attention as an American representative of the romantic movement of the 19th century.

35 comments:

  1. karol saleh (8)
    Is safety more important than freedom?
    i recommend safety more important than freedom. Freedom types and freedom have the meanings. To achieve freedom and its conditions under these conditions there will be safety in the community who wants to feel freedom. Without freedom there is no safety and without safety there is no freedom.

    ReplyDelete
  2. karol saleh (8)
    3. Who do you think have been our best leaders? Why? Were they also the most successful politicians? If not, why not? Who are the best leaders in the world today, in your judgment? Why?
    our best leaders was jimmy carter, served as the 39th President of the United States from 1977 to 1981. He was awarded the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize for work to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.
    the best leaders in the world today is William Jefferson Clinton, the first Democratic president in six decades to be elected twice, led the U.S. to the longest economic expansion in American history, including the creation of more than 22 million jobs.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mariem Farag #12
    Freedom is more important than safety. I rather be free than safe in a shell.

    ReplyDelete
  4. jeri radford (12)2:34 PM CDT

    I feel like you have to look at each person as an individual. Yes, we are part of a bigger picture, but there are so many things that could influence us on a day to day basis that could change the way we think or are. I don't think you could say whether or not human nature is good or bad.

    ReplyDelete
  5. BRIAN WULF FROM SECTION 11 PLEASE TEXT ME! sorry I couldn't make it to class had to finish a certification testing for work today. Please please contact me

    ReplyDelete
  6. (8) Janet Peoples
    What would happen if the state and its authoritative institutions disappeared? Would life be good?

    I don't think it would be good if they we didnt have authoritative institutions because things would be even worse than it is now.

    ReplyDelete
  7. (8) Janet Peoples
    . Is safety more important than freedom? How does this question play out in our current politics, regarding (for instance) gun rights and violence in America, or privacy versus national security?

    You need to be safe to be able to have freedom because it keeps things from going wrong and you getting hurt. Be safe helps keep things in line and makes things go smoother in the country.

    ReplyDelete
  8. (8) Janet Peoples
    Is it possible to know that human nature is inherently good or bad? Or must we treat one another as individuals, and not exemplars of a universal nature?

    i think we should treat one another as individuals because we are all different and our on person. Getting treated like everyone else doesn't make you any different and feel like your own person.

    ReplyDelete
  9. (#8) In response to DQ1, I value the qualities of impartial judgment and civic morality in a politician. In regards to voting, I do feel an amount of allegiance to a particular party; however, this is due in part because of the particular party sharing similar viewpoints to that of mine. Needless to say, I do try my best to base my voting purely off of candidate merit and not "popularity."

    ReplyDelete
  10. Josh King (12) Exam #2 Extra Credit

    If you agree with Hobbes that humans left to themselves would revert to base, aggressive, instinctive behavior, do you also agree that the only corrective for this condition is an all-powerful and authoritative central state? Can individuals change, and become more kind and compassionate? Or is this beyond our programming?

    I think that all humans left to themselves would somewhat resort to their base, instinctive behavior. Humans are typically aggressive towards unknowns It is not necessarily the case that humans are inherently bad, but left to their base instincts, self-preservation would take precedence over what we perceive as being "nice". I do believe that once it is established that whatever unknown is not a threat to a human's self-preservation then humans are typically good natured to other humans, animals, etc. I don't believe that an authoritative state is the only way to "correct" this behavior because I do not believe that it is inherently wrong and therefore does not need correcting. I do however think that humans gravitate to an authoritative state because it typically provides more protection, resources, etc. that increase the likelihood of ones survival, but I do think that humans will naturally resist an all powerful/ all-controlling form of government. Individuals can change and become more companionate over time. I believe empathy is a somewhat natural emotion that can be strengthened or weakened throughout one's life unless that person is a sociopath of something of the sort.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I find that Hobbes basically described how we became as a society. I don't think he said anything amazing. His solution to the idea of a world without society was to start a society.

    ReplyDelete
  12. (#6)

    Found a fun little video summarizing the book's information on Machiavelli.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMagDqJDcLc&ab_channel=Wisecrack

    ReplyDelete
  13. Lucas Futrell (6)

    Additional quiz questions:
    1. What does virtu translate to?
    2. How did Hobbes escape the dangers of the English Civil War?
    3. What did Hobbes believe were equivelent to muscles and organs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen Martin (4)
      1. Manliness or Valour
      2. He fled to Paris
      3. The gears of a clock

      Delete
  14. Sean Byars (6)
    Quiz Question: Did Machiavelli approve of murder?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sean Byars (6)
    DQ #5: What is more important safety or freedom? Freedom is hands down more important than safety. True safety can not be achieved, especially through the government. They use tragedies as leverage to take away our personal liberties for "safety" when in reality by taking away our weapons, the only ones they are making safe are themselves. Freedom comes with a price, unfortunately so does safety. Give me more freedom over more safety any day.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Danni Bonner Section 4
    Quiz questions:
    What did Hobbes claim about God?
    As what did Machiavelli see himself?
    What were the two animals that Machiavelli said to learn from?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Ian Law #4

    I suppose all of our politicians have some degree of Machiavellian deception in their tenures. It would be virtually impossible to campaign or run government on complete honesty.

    Freedom and safety are not incompatible goals. Society needs to be functioning at a basic level in order for people to pursue their dreams. No one gets what they want under anarchy, they simply struggle to survive. Some kind of government is necessary to keep everyone's impulses in check.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous8:50 AM CST

    #4
    According to Hobbes, laws are useless without what?
    Did he believe in democracy?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Kaitlyn Flint (9:40 TTR)

    What did Hobbes believe about freedom?
    What did he believe about freedom in relation to security?

    ReplyDelete
  20. sec. 6
    QQ: Without a "___" Everything would fall apart...

    ReplyDelete
  21. Amy Young (4)
    I have deliberately acted in a law breaking act, speeding.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Question: who was Nigel?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Section 3: Harrison, Prestin, Karla

    5) We think that freedom is more important than safety because regardless of how many safety items are implemented, people will always find a way to bi-pass them if they truly intend to cause harm. Why should people with God given, born freedoms sacrifice those for ultimately no real change in safety?
    8) We don't think it would be because as history shows, society is not always the answer to end Barbarism as many cultures around the world have shown. In our experiences people are not naturally distrustful and hostile towards one another, but rather from the experience of their environments and their past experiences that shape them into the people the become.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Section 4 Discussion group: Ian Law, J. Skylar Dean

    Talked about the qualities we value in politicians. Talked about whether freedom is worth sacrificing for safety. Whether or not a lack of a government would be better life in the nature.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Anonymous11:14 AM CST

    Devin Mahoney (6)

    Quiz Question:
    What Did Hobbes claim God must be?

    Here is a really great summary video on Hobbes's philosophy.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9i4jb5XBX5s

    I have always enjoyed the concept of the Social Contract. Though I may not agree with all formulations of this theory, the general foundation is hard to disagree with.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Sect 6
    1.Where did Hobbes write "Leviathan"?
    2.What was "Leviathan" described as in the Bible?

    ReplyDelete
  27. Sect 6
    1.Where did Hobbes write "Leviathan"?
    2.What was "Leviathan" described as in the Bible?

    ReplyDelete
  28. 6 Brock Francis
    T/F Hobbes was a devoted philosopher from a young age.

    ReplyDelete
  29. 6.
    I vote according to the best caniadate not just my party because just because you are in my party do I believe you have my best interest at heart.

    ReplyDelete
  30. 6 Brock Francis
    4. What would happen if the state and its authoritative institutions disappeared? Would life be good?

    I believe that civilization would deteriorate. I agree with what Hobbes said about the matter. I believe humans, over time, would fall back on primal survival instincts. This includes putting survival at the forefront and will do whatever to stay alive if resources fall more scarce.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Cassie Franse (6)10:59 AM CST

    In our discussion, James and I talked about society and the standards that are set. We talked about the state of nature of humans and we both agreed that at the root, and the beginning, humans are selfish, but as we grow and learn through experiences, we lose that quality (or atleast some of us do) maybe not entirely but for the most part.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Sterling Smith (#6)6:40 AM CST

    DQ: Do the ideas of Hobbes relate to your personal philosophy?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Sterling Smith (#6)6:41 AM CST

    Quiz Question: (T/F) Machiavelli thought all people were selfish.

    ReplyDelete